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The Wickedness of Jehoram
v. 1. Now, Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the City of David, in the tombs of the kings. And Jehoram, his son, son-in-law of the wicked Ahab of Israel, reigned in his stead. He may have been coregent with his father for a while before this.
v. 2. And he had brethren, the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah (Hebrew, Azariahu), and Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, the word in this instance being the designation of the southern kingdom.
v. 3. And their father gave them, had given them before he died, great gifts of silver and of gold and of precious things with fenced cities in Judah, thus assuring to each one an independent income and at least a subordinate position in the kingdom as commandants of fortified cities; but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram, because he was the first-born, he was designated as the crown prince of the realm and the successor of Jehoshaphat, and this decision was accepted without opposition by the other princes.
v. 4. Now, when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, he summoned all his energy, and slew all his brethren with the sword and divers also of the princes of Israel, such as he suspected of a loyal interest in the princes and liable to avenge their death. It was an unwarranted act of tyrannical cruelty, a tragedy showing the wickedness of Jehoram.
v. 5. Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
v. 6. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, in all their idolatry and unexampled wickedness, like as did the house of Ahab, whose evil spirit was Jezebel, the wife of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife; and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord, thus completely obliterating the effect of the splendid example of his father, since he encouraged the introduction of every idolatrous custom connected with the worship of the heathen deities.
v. 7. Howbeit, the Lord would not destroy the house of David, richly as Jehoram's behavior merited such a fate, because of the covenant that He had made with David, 2 Samuel 1, and as He promised to give a light to him and to his sons forever, to keep the descendants of David on the throne of Judah and thus to keep his family alive.
v. 8. In his days the Edomites, who had been overthrown by David, 2 Samuel 8:14, revolted from under the dominion of Judah and made themselves a king, once more proclaiming themselves an independent state.
v. 9. Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, the generals of his army, and all his chariots with him, the strongest division of his army; and he rose up by night, when he found himself surrounded by the enemy's forces, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots, thereby succeeding merely in effecting his escape, while his army promptly fled to the security of their homes.
v. 10. So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day, the time when the original account was written from which the inspired writer drew, for the victory of Amaziah over the Edomites, 2 Chronicles 25:14-16, seems to have had no lasting effects. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand, this being a city with its surrounding territory on the southwestern border, both Philistines and Phenicians aiding them in their rebellion, because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers.
v. 11. Moreover, he made high places in the mountains of Judah, altars on the summits of the mountains dedicated to idolatry, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, spiritual adultery in rejecting Jehovah and in serving false gods, and compelled Judah thereto. The history of Jehoram shows how quickly wicked rulers can undo the reform work of many years. Unbelief, idolatry, false doctrine, is accepted much more readily than the true worship of God.
The Lord's Punishment upon Jehoram
v. 12. And there came a writing to him, Jehoram, from Elijah, the prophet, a prophetic letter evidently written or dictated by Elijah before his death, which seems to have taken place during the reign of Jehoshaphat, 2 Kings 2 : saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David, thy father, to whom alone the continuation of the dynasty was to be ascribed, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat, thy father, nor in the ways of Asa, king of Judah,
v. 13. but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, in all their idolatrous wickedness, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a-whoring, in spiritual adultery, to forsake Jehovah and become guilty of the idolatry of the heathen nations, and practice the immoral customs connected with their religion, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, the extreme example of wickedness in this respect, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, in cold-blooded, cruel murder, which were better than thyself, not so steeped in idolatry,
v. 14. behold, with a great plague, a severe scourge, will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods, namely, by devastating invasions;
v. 15. and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day, during many days, for a long time. It was a singular and horrible disease, that of rotting away of the intestines in a slow disintegration.
v. 16. Moreover, the Lord, in fulfilling this prophecy, stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, who had been held in check for a long time, and of the Arabians that were near the Ethiopians, those of Southern Arabia.
v. 17. And they came up into Judah and brake into it, they forced their way into the country in spite of all attempted opposition, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, plundering even the royal palace and the royal domains, and his sons also and his wives, the members of his harem, so that there was never a son left him save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons, also called Ahaziah and Azariah.
v. 18. And after all this the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease, apparently some form of extreme dysentery.
v. 19. And it came to pass that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness, the very intestines having been eaten away by the horrible malady; so he died of sore diseases, suffering severe pains. And his people made no burning for him like the burning of his fathers; see 2 Chronicles 16:14, where we read that sweet spices were burned in memory of the dead.
v. 20. Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired; no one regretted his death, it was a relief for the entire kingdom. Howbeit, they buried him in the City of David, but not in the sepulchers of the kings, he was denied even this last honor. Like Jehoram, all wicked, idolatrous people are bound for destruction. God visits them with His displeasure even here in time, and eventually, in eternity, they will have to bear the punishment of their transgressions forever.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 21". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany